First let me ask, “What is Social Media?”<Ask Audience for Feedback> Really it is all of those and more.I don’t like the wordMEDIA as part of Social Media. This would lead you to believe social media is like a regular traditional media channel. One that you can use traditional marketing tactics to reach a goal or objective. And believe me many do. Which is good for those that do get Social Media right as they can stand out and excel where the others fail. This is not so different than traditional media where mediocre advertising can deliver results when there is so much in the way of bad advertising out there. Goods or great advertising will excel as well.Why social media is called “social,” is that it is conversationally based with many-to-many conversations taking place.This is why Social Media is different than traditional media which is always one-to many communication, not a Conversation or dialog.Social tools are a place where conversations take place within the various networks. The conversations can be about companies, brands, and products.
Google “Social Media” and about198 million results. Brian Solis, is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media, developed this conversation prism, in which the center is “The Brand” Surrounding the Brand are the standard corporate marketing and business strategies and tactics, but as you progress further outward businesses engage with the “real world” with a overabundance of social channels. As you move away from the center, you loose more and more control over the messaging and conversation. Adopting a social media marketing strategy increases your control over the conversations.And those social channels are constantly changing and evolving. Missing on the graphic is Google Plus; just over 100 days old and only now accepting company pages. Present are tools like MySpace, Google Buzz, Ning; which are nominal or gone. Social tools ebb and flow and are constantly changing. That is one of the reason there are no “experts” in social media, there can only be “explorers.”
How is social media different that traditional media?Traditional is one-way communications Social media is interactive communicationsTraditional it is about “Reach and Frequency” Social media it is about engagement and dialogs – the quality of the conversationTraditional is measureable and you can calculate an ROI Social media it is about ROR – Return on Relationships and relationships do lead to sales over time.Traditional is interruptive, some call it SHOUT mediaSocial media is where BUYERS seek you out.A little background, when I mention Buyers, I am talking about people not already customers. I know sometimes the term customers is used when that person has yet to make a purchase, so he or she is not really a customer…yet. So I use BUYER or PROSPECT for the solutions your company sells.
Why do people buy from you? That can mean solutions your company provides, your ideas within the company, or your brand in the career marketplace.<Ask audience for feedback>Really don’t people buy from you because at some level they TRUST you more than someone else?
How do you build Trust? <ask Audience> Getting to know the person or company betterBrand advertising, billions have been spent on brand advertising and it does lend itself to familiarity.How about Asking others? Looking at reviews, Checking whatever “it” is by doing a Google Search?Having a conversation with someone.
So here is a test of what has changed; four questions from one of my favorite authors and a marketing colleague, David Meerman Scott. In his book “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” he lays out what has changed and the ways to take advantage of how marketing a business has to change. This also applies to personal branding.On his speaking tours he asks four questions of his audience. Audience participation, raise your hand if you have done the following…>In the past 3 months to solve a business problem, have you responded to an ad in a trade journal, magazine, newspaper?In the past 3 months to solve a businessproblem, have you responded to a piece of direct mail?In the past 3 months to help solve a business problem, have you done a Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search?In the past 3 months to solve a businessproblem, have you sent an email to a friend and the reply included a link that you clicked on?This is a perfect example on how even you have changed how you solve problems, “don’t you think Buyers have done the same?”The New Rules of marketing and PR call for a higher visibility on the web for your company, Your Brand, and yourself.
When it comes to personal brandingThe Big Three tools out there are:Facebook, LinkedIn and TwitterNow there is a difference between being a registered user and an active users.How many here have a Facebook Account? LinkedIn? Twitter?How Many are actively using Facebook? LinkedIn? Twitter?
FacebookThe backyard BBQ of social networks where you invite your close friends and relatives over.Social Network created for the college market to replace the bulletin boards on dorm room doors. Today open to all.Anyone care to tell me when Facebook was started? (Feb. 2004)The fastest growing segment of users are women 30-60Facebook is the leader in social media with the greatest number of people, the highest usages of any web site and the longest time on page than anyone…and it is constantly changing. Speaking of Change, Who here was upset when Facebook changed how your wall looked? How your Friends would show up on a sidebar? Mark Zuckerberg has said we “will never be finished”Over 800 million users and FB ranks as the most visited web site, even over Google!A Strong B2C tool where companies can engage with customers and build stronger relationships. Some companies are beginning to use this for B2B as well.Although I personally feel there are better more productive ways to invest marketing time, but if research reveals that your Buyers are on Facebook using that tool to solve business problems or make purchase decisions, then the investment can be justified.
Company PagesEngage – customer relations, customer serviceSales, coupons, special offers that can drive sales with loyal followers. Arby’s recently ran a promotion fro a free Philly Steak sandwich coupon on Facebook.Uses iFrames which can mean you can provide web like experiences in your page without forcing your followers off of Facebook. Studies have shown a decrease in Facebook users following links off of Facebook. Think of it this way. Most people on are Facebook, not for business reasons, but for personal reasons. Do everything you can to keep them engaged on your page without leaving Facebook. Bringvisitors to your page, to a Welcome page, not just the wall. Followers will see your wall posts on their wall and they can go to your wall anytime.SEO – Facebook pages are indexed by the search engines. For SEO regular postings help keep page rankings for organic results high. One of the few good reasons I can see a B2B company using Facebook right now Still search engines are also looking at engagement and conversations..Personal Profile for brandingSo how many of you have checked on an employee on his or her Facebook activities? Control what you say and what others can see through your privacy settings. I use Facebook strictly for personal reasons and lock down my privacy settings. I share little, while I do follow many of our elected representatives, I never comment on their postings, rather I send then direct communications.Profile – you can pack the Info tab with keywords and things you want people to know about you in a more personal way.Wall – postings Where you can follow companies and comment on their wall - that also appears on yours that is shared with your network – but it does provide an avenue to get to know a company and the people that work or do business with that company.Sharing – depending upon your network, you can many times share information, stories, links with others be it on your wall, a group wall and sometimes company walls.Remember Social Media is about Conversations…This is where the real value of using Facebook and other Social media tactics counts.
LinkedInThe professional NetworkingSite – think of it as the Tradeshow/Convention of social networks.For SEO, a high value web site indexed by Google, Bing, and Yahoo that you can create individual and company profiles that link back to your web site. Here too, LinkedIn constantly changes and evolves; for example in October, LinkedIn began to allow updates on the company profile for those that follow your company profile.Good for B2B, such as discussion groups, you can create your own group for your business on industry topics, internal use, or customer service. Over 120 million Users world-wide.
Photo – Get a professional photo taken and use it. This is not Facebook so no cartoon avatar drawings in place of a photo.Customize Title – 150 characters Sell a benefit about yourselfNetwork updates or POSTS, share information with your network and Followers (not necessarily connected with you.) This post I did earlier this month was a result of uploading a new video I shot on my YouTube channel, which was reposted on Twitter, which was then posted here…automatically. In one step, I had three high value tools “tell the world” about it.Experience, Education, Recommendations, Connections, links and your personal profile URL (customize it).
Your summary should be a couple of paragraphs, written in first person, selling what you have done, what you can do.Specialties, are short searchable keyword bullet pointsPack this area with searchable keywords.Just to give you an example, a company president found me using the search term “Inbound Marketing, Omaha” in the simple search tool for people and I was the first result on the page. I have used the term “Inbound Marketing” In my professional title, in my summary and other areas in my profile.
Your Experience needs to be more than what people will already know when you put down a Job Title.Add accomplishments as a way to help brand yourself better. Also think searchable keywords that should be included in any description.
Other LinkedIn tools for Personal BrandingGROUPSOne of the best ways for anyone to increase “Thought Leadership” for your company or personal brand is through active participation in Groups and Group discussions. You can become a SME, “Subject Matter Expert” in the group. It is a way to network with people outside the geographic confines of your personal universe.QUESTIONS AND ANSWERSThere is a way to ASK a question of the entire LinkedIn community through the ANSWERS section under MORE in the LinkedIn menu. Here you can also find people asking questions that perhaps you can provide an answer. The best answer is selected by the person asking the question and it can raise your SME standing again. EXAMPLE Last week I asked about the term BUNKBEDAlso add SECTIONS to your profile.Skills is a good one to include some important searchable keywords into your profile. There are others like …ApplicationsThis is where you can add additional information that will increase your brand among your connections and people that follow you. For example, I include my reading list, primarily what I read in my field. Some others include….
Twitter – A companion MediaA micro-blogging toolLimited to 140 characters, really forces one to present thoughts in a clear and concise way175 million users, a great number are not active users on a daily basis.200+ million tweets per dayUseful for B2C and B2BSince Tweets are indexed by search engines, this is a great tool for added SEO benefit which is one of the best uses for business, in addition to sharing ideas that build “thought leadership” with followers.
Twitter Branding TipsComplete Profile, sell a benefit, just like LinkedInMake sure you have a link back to your website; Companies – corporate site, individuals – if you have one, otherwise back to another site like LinkedIn, Facebook or a Blog.Share information with a link, use a URLshortener like bit.ly or tiny url. Sharing information freely is one of the keystones of all social media. It builds SME and thought leadership statusRetweet – Tweets From your followers that you would like to share with your network. This builds trust in your network. Thank those that retweet you with a direct message.Followers – Quality over quantity. You may have both, but communicating with a small group of customers and Buyers can have more value than tweeting to tens of thousands.Real Time – The life value of a Tweet can be real short, around 15 minutes. Many times twitter use accelerates during events using the pound symbol (#) has tag.A funny story, 3 years ago I attended a local American Marketing Association meeting where a copywriter from a well known local advertising agency predicted that Twitter had little value and communicating effectively in 140 characters and would not make it. That was 2 years after Twitter Launched.
Social Media is All AboutConversations:Listening, so you can hear what other say about you, your company, your brandsEngaging, you need to engage in the conversations taking place. Especially when something negative is being said. It can turn that negative into a positive.Publishing, regular and frequent posts, help raise your visibility among your network and Search engine rankings. Publish to start conversations.Social Media does not replace traditional media or traditional networking, but complements them.
Have you ever “Googled” yourself? Your Company or Brands ? Your Competition?This past August more than 12 billion searches were conducted worldwide with 65% of them on Google.You should Google yourself, your company, your brands to see what Google has found out about You, Your Brands, Your Company. It might also reveal what others might be saying about the same, although there are other tools to discover mentions along social media.Set up an alert or series of alerts so if something new should be indexed by Google, Yahoo or Bing, you will receive an email alert.Do a search for Google Advanced Search Operators. Here you can refine your alerts to weed out irrelevant results. Examples SITE:, LOCATION:, LINK:Hint, you can also do this for companies you want to follow for whatever reason.
BLOGSAnother great way for companies to increase leads and thought leadership is to create a blog. And Please do not use it to post press releases. Companies that effectively blog will more than double the number of leads from the Internet than companies that don’t.The unique thing about blogs is that every post that is created will result in the search engine re-indexing the entire blog, so all the keyword rich content is indexed and will raise your page rank for organic results in Search Engine Result Pages.A Way to get Published, Share your ThoughtsContent is out on the web “forever” constantly being indexed by search engines.You can become a SME Subject Matter Expert in your own niche. Individuals that blog raise their SME status. Companies raise their thought leadership statusTechnorati, a blog search engine, was following over 200 million blogs in 2010, which is the most current year.One of the aspects of Social Media is to give away content, sharing knowledge and being “Real”
I know I only scratched the surface and could do an entire day presenting just on any one of these social conversational tools.